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http://mashcast.com/sites/all/modules/media_api/player.swf

I’ve spent a wonderful week in Paris, attending the infamous Le Web conference put together by Loic Le Meur and his amazing wife Geraldine. But while the event kicked off only on Wednesday, I arrived in the French capital on Sunday noon, and my motivation wasn’t tourism.

I was cordially invited by the organizers of the Traveling Geeks tours, who bring together bloggers and industry pundits from all over the world to travel all over the globe looking for great stories from equally great tech startups and established companies, to join them in the days before Le Web.

The group consisted of the organizers, the hyperactive Renee Blodgett, Jim ‘Sky’, Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo fame and Phil Jeudy, and a bunch of other – you guessed it – geeks, including Frederic Lardinois (ReadWriteWeb), Kim-Mai Cutler (Venturebeat), David Spark, Tom Foremski (Silicon Valley Watcher), Amanda Coolong (TechZulu) and more.

We had a great time visiting tech giants like Orange (the network operator invited us to their Labs so we could witness firsthand how they were trying to innovate) and Parrot (the consumer electronics company showed us an upcoming product under NDA that will raise some eyebrows at the next CES show).

We also had a blast attending small events in the evenings leading up to Le Web, and enjoying delicious French food for lunch and dinner. But what I liked most about this trip were the visits to Paris tech startup incubators like Silicon Sentier / La Cantine and the Paris Réunion Incubator.

I had the pleasure of meeting great entrepreneurs with some good ideas in those places, and although I will not be covering all 15-16 of them here in depth in this post, I’m looking forward to catching up with them later to talk more about what they’re building. These are my personal favorites though: Pearltrees (Butcher’s take here), Feedbooks, Cedexis, Gostai and Zoomorama.

I cannot thank the people behind the Traveling Geeks iniative enough for all their efforts in putting this tour together, and I very much hope to be invited for more of this in the future, however intense and demanding it can be. Also huge kudos to the companies who were kind enough to support the Traveling Geeks (full list here) – let me reassure you that it pays off.

Evidently, all the traveling geeks published blog posts about the tour, and all coverage is aggregated on the TG homepage so go check it out if you’re interested.

There’s a TG Flickr group, and the awesome MashCast video I embedded above can be found here.

Also, Traveling Geeks is on Facebook and Twitter.

(Picture by Renee Blodgett / Flickr)

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